The base set of Pandemic goes with a board that shows a map of the world with four different color sections and lines connecting them. It also comes with 96 wooden cubes in the same four different colors. There are five pawns that are used for players to represent where they are located on the board. There are two different decks of cards, one of which is used by the players and another that shows how the infection spreads. There are other components to make where there are research stations and other chits used to mark different tracks on the board.
These components have a very high quality and stand up to many playings. The cards themselves are very clear and show where on the planet they are located if they are a city card, or explains well what they do if they are a special action. The board is laid out very well and does not feel clattered at all. The different tracks that you need are placed in good places and are clear. The board also has a good reminder what happens during the turn and where to put cards that have been used. The box that everything comes in is a great size, but not too big. The box also fits everything from the expansion in it easily.
Pandemic is a cooperative game for 2-4 players. The players play as scientists who have to work together to find cures of the four diseases that are spread throughout the world. It is a simple game that can become difficult with included cards. Each player takes a role card, there are five included in the game, and each of these cards gives you a special ability. The next step in setting up the game is to draw nine of the infection cards. You put 3 cubes of the same color as the city into the first three cards drawn, 2 cubes in the next three and 1 cube on the last 3. No city can ever have more than 3 cubes of any color in it at one time. Throughout the game, more cubes will get added to cities. If a city with 3 cubes ever gets another cube placed in it, instead a cube is placed in every cube connected to it. If this happens 8 times in a game, the players have lost. The players will draw a certain number of cards depending on how many players there are. These cards will be used to move and also to cure diseases.
On the players turn they get 4 actions. The players can use these actions to move, remove a cube from the city they are in, cure a disease or build a research station. If you have five cards of a single color and are in the same location as a research station they can cure one of the diseases. Once all four diseases are cured, the players have won the game. But of course it is not that simple. Once a player is down with their actions they draw 2 cards from the player deck. If this deck ever runs out, the players lose. Next, they have to spread the infection. They draw cards from the infection deck equal to the infection track. This starts at 2 and can go up to 4 throughout the game. They then place 1 cube in the city shown on each card. Their turn is now over. Play continues in this way until the players win or are defeated. The last component is the epidemic cards. After dealing out the starting player cards you separate the remaining cards into 4-6 piles depending on how hard you want the game to be and shuffle in an epidemic card. When an epidemic card is drawn you follow the directions on it, but in brief you increase the track of how many infection cards you draw each turn. Take the bottom card of the infection deck and add 3 cubes to that city. You then shuffle all the cards in the infection discard pile and put them back on top of the deck. So the city cards you will be drawing are ones that already have cubes in them.
This game is amazing. It is fun for every type of gamer, from brand new ones to hardcore gamers. Because you are working together it works well for players with different ability levels. Because a newer player does not have to worry about messing something up, they have more fun. It is a light, quick game; it takes around an hour or so to play. The mechanics work so well together that this game holds up to some many plays. There is also the fact that once the game becomes too easy, you can make it more difficult and have to rethink your strategies. I would recommend this game for any players, regardless of how much experience with gaming they have.
The expansion to this game Pandemic: On the Brink is also great. It adds several different items to the game and you can use some or all of them. It adds 7 new role cards and a reworking of the weakest role from the base game. It adds a fifth color disease to make the game harder, along with a seventh epidemic card. There are also new modes. One addition is where one player plays as a bio terrorist and works against everyone else. The other is the epidemic cards do more than just the normal things and this makes the game even harder. It also comes with sweet petri dishes to keep all of the cubes and player pawns in.
This is a great expansion and does what you want an expansion to do. It complements the base game while adding new items to make the game more enjoyable for more experienced players. I would recommend it to everyone who enjoys the base game. Even if you only use the 7 new roles and maybe the 7th epidemic card, you will have gotten your money’s worth.
As you can see I love this game, I would place it in my top 5 games of all time and try and get it to the table as much as possible. I would recommend it for all players to try this game out.
This review was originally posted here http://www.mozupro.com/mile-high-reviews-2012-07-25/